Arts / Culture

Our pick of what’s on at Melbourne Design Week

What's on at Melbourne Design Week

Melbourne Design Week has kicked off again today, Thursday 23 May, and will run until Sunday 2 June.

Now in its fifth year, the annual week-long affair put on by National Gallery of Victoria is taking over multiple venues in the cultural hub of Melbourne to put on Australia's largest international design event.

This year's programming features an abundance of events – with more than 300 talks, workshops, forums, exhibitions and more scheduled over the next 11 days. So, we've taken the guesswork out of deciding which sessions to head to, and have curated our pick of what to attend below.


1. INTERNAL MONOLOGUES presented by Amanda Nichols

Amanda Nichols PRS PhD research, image courtesy of Amanda Nichols

If you were intrigued by the Met Gala's recent Sleeping Beauties exhibition – then this one's for you. Interior Monologues invites you to delve into the mystique of historical costumes, re-imagined by Replica Project as a way to explore the symbiotic relationship between costume and fashion.

When: 23 May – 31 May 2024

Where: National Trust of Australia (Victoria), Tasma Terrace

Cost: Free (no booking required)


2. DOZING presented by Artbank

Narelle Desmond, Cover Up Curtain (Hidden Costs), 2023. Photo by Ryan Renshaw. Courtesy of the Artist and The Renshaws’, Brisbane

Artbank have invited Melbourne multidisciplinary artist Narelle Desmond to exhibit a series of recent and archival works alongside works from the Artbank Collection by Hany Armanious, Vivienne Binns, Lou Hubbard and Sangeeta Sandrasegar from the Artbank Collection.

When: 23 May – 5 July 2024

Where: Artbank, Collingwood

Cost: Free (no booking required)


3. RESPONSIBLE presented by Living Edge

Fiber armchair. Image by Mutto.

Living Edge are purveyors of some of the most covetable designer furniture in Australia, and their exhibition Responsible is a testament to their commitment to a sustainable and circular design economy. The exhibition is set to be a breathtaking showroom display of pieces crafted entirely from recycled materials – from the sleek lines of Mutto's recycled plastic chairs to pieces by Magis, Howe and Herman Miller.

When: 23 May – 2 June 2024

Where: Living Edge Showroom, Richmond

Cost: Free (no booking required)


4. K-H! presented by CAVES

Image courtesy of Camille Laddawan.

K-h! is an exploration of the sounds of a baby by Camille Laddawan (whose practice we featured in our Tempo issue last year). For her latest exhibition, Laddawan has translated the pitches and rhythms of pre-linguistic speech into western music notation, and then into a visual music code, which she has embedded into a series of beadings.

Three essays on the voice will accompany the exhibit – written by Helen Johnson, Roslyn Orlando and Dr Adele Gregory.

When: 23 May – 1 June 2024

Where: CAVES, Swanston

Cost: Free (no booking required)


5. FASHION RE:GENERATION presented by Poppy Somers

Image by Poppy Somers.

Fashion Re:Generation is a free exhibition taking place in Fitzroy that features the work of RMIT Bachelor of Fashion (Design) (Honours) graduates who are at the forefront of innovation and circular fashion design. Designers include Aviva Gandler, Evie Rosa, Felicia Tiktikakis, Helena Bucheggar, Poppy Somers, and Shae Guttler.

When: 9 May – 26 May 2024

Where: Brunswick Street Galleries, Fitzroy

Cost: Free (no booking required)


6. DESIGN AS AN ATTITUDE WITH ALICE RAWSTHORN presented by National Gallery Victoria

Photo by Michael Leckie.

Award-winning design critic and author of Design as an Attitude, Alice Rawsthorn OBE will be opening the Melbourne Art Book Fair and launching the second volume of NGV’s Observations series with her talk. Rawsthorn will be sharing her point of view on "how digitally empowered, politically engaged designers are addressing the complex challenges facing us now, and in the future". We think it will be a good one.

When: 6-7pm, 23 May 2024

Where: Clemenger BBDO Auditorium, Southbank

Cost: Ticketed ($12-40).


8. AND THE WORD WAS GOD (神) presented by Ming Liew and Ben Yi-Yu Qin and Xinyuan (Caesar) Li

Image courtesy of Ming Liew.

This collaborative exploration of language across video art, poetry and typographic design draws on the lived experiences of three first-generation Chinese Australians, and how they languages they speak are used, exchanged and transformed over time. And the word was God (神) is an invitation for reflection on our own dialogues and to the future of multiculturalism in Australia.

When: 23 May – 2 June 2024

Where: Run Artist Run, Docklands

Cost: Free (no booking required)


See the full scheduled 2024 program on the Melbourne Design Week website.

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